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The Power of Everyday Politics: How Vietnamese Peasants Transformed National Policy

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Preliminary pages 1. Introduction 2. Theorizing Everyday Politics in Collective Farming 3. Building on Wobbly Foundations, 1955-1961 4. Coping and Shoring Up, 1961-1974 5. Collapsing from Within, 1974-1981 6. Dismantling Collective Farming: Expanding the Family Farm, 1981-1990 7. Conclusion Appendixes, Vietnamese Glossary, Selected Places and Terms, Abbreviations, Bibliography, Index.

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... of state legitimation: from the 'high communist' objective of agricultural collectivisation; through market reforms and trade liberalisation; to contemporary emphases on development and growth; as well as in the management of rural populations and efforts to integrate upland minorities within the mainstream (Evans 1988;Woodside 1989;Kerkvliet 2005;Évrard 2011;Singh 2012;Dang 2018). In parallel, this policy arc has transformed the discursive position of agriculture within the (market-)socialist development model, from Soviet-influenced narratives of mass collective farming as a steppingstone to industrialisation, to market-driven agricultural intensification in pursuit of economic growth. ...
... While in the late 1970s, collectivisation had been considered vital to socialist development and the improvement of rural living conditions, and hence the legitimacy of the Lao and Vietnamese regimes, the programme was never fully implemented and stalled in both countries for largely similar reasons. They were inefficient, weakly managed, and founded on state-driven socialist ideals that were out of step with the priorities of the peasantry, who in Vietnam made this increasingly known through acts of everyday resistance, including avoiding collective tasks and sabotage (Evans 1995;Kerkvliet 2005). Vietnamese cooperatives became shells in which members reverted to family-based, subsistence farming on subdivided land, while national grain output from cooperatives declined through the early 1980s (Kerkvliet 2009;Raymond 2008). ...
... Vietnamese cooperatives became shells in which members reverted to family-based, subsistence farming on subdivided land, while national grain output from cooperatives declined through the early 1980s (Kerkvliet 2009;Raymond 2008). Falling production brought about widening food shortages, damaging state legitimacy and forcing a rebalance between collective and individual farming through the legalisation of contract production for cooperatives in 1981, under 'Directive 100' (loosely resembling China's 'household responsibility' system), with farmers free to sell surpluses (Pingali and Xuan 1992;Kerkvliet 2005;Raymond 2008). ...
Chapter
The pursuit of rural development has been a central tenet and tool of legitimacy for both the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic since their respective revolutions. Both regimes relied on the support of predominantly peasant populations through struggles for independence, and later sought to harness the rural sector as a means to socialist transformation, reassembling war-shattered economies and nation building. This chapter traces rural policies and their consequences through different developmental phases in post-revolutionary Laos and Vietnam, joined by shared ideology yet facing differing national circumstances that would shape their approaches to the management of rural spaces and people. As command planning began to unravel in both countries in the late 1970s, the countryside underwent a seismic reversal from the setting of experiments in collective farming to the loosening of state controls on individual production, exchange and trade that prefaced the broader pivot to ‘market socialism’. The reopening of the Lao and Vietnamese economies was soon swept along by the gathering pace of regional and global integration, bringing both widening opportunities and new risks to formerly isolated rural places and people. The concurrent rise of sustainability as an enveloping international discourse added new contradictions to rural development, with opposing aims to harness resources while also conserving them, while powerful state and non-state actors moved to monopolise their exploitation. The extent that shifting policy landscapes and objectives have translated to the equitable improvement of rural living conditions promised by earlier socialist ideals remains unclear.
... 'Everyday peasant politics' is the type of politics that remains almost invisible to researchers, policymakers, and agrarian movement activists, but can be very powerful in transforming national policies, as demonstrated by Kerkvliet in the case of Vietnam's agricultural policy during the past three decades (2009, see also Kerkvliet 2005). Such low-profile actions can lead to high-profile actions depending on changing political opportunities favouring peasants, as explained by Shapan Adnan (2007) in the context of Bangladesh. ...
... He makes clear, however, the differences and possible overlaps between the everyday forms and the other two types. He concludes by suggesting that, 'in addition to better understanding peasant societies, the concept of everyday politics makes us -researchers -further aware of, and realise the importance of, our own everyday political behaviour' (see also Kerkvliet 1993Kerkvliet , 2005. ...
... 32 The literature on 'politics-oriented analytical frameworks' rejects a de-politicised version of statesociety relations perspective which goes by many fashionable names, such as 'statecivil society partnerships', 'government-NGO collaboration', and so on, which are among the favourite frameworks currently used by mainstream development institutions. Moreover, bringing in 'everyday peasant politics' into the interactive state-society relations analytical framework can greatly increase the latter's explanatory power, as demonstrated in a number of recent studies, such as Kerkvliet (2005) and O'Brien and Li (2006). ...
Article
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Agrarian transformations within and across countries have been significantly and dynamically altered during the past few decades compared to previous eras, provoking a variety of reactions from rural poor communities worldwide. The changed and changing agrarian terrain has also influenced recent rethinking in critical inquiry into the nature, scope, pace and direction of agrarian transformations and development. This can be seen in terms of theorising, linking with development policy and politics, and thinking about methodologies. This collection of essays on key perspectives, frameworks and methodologies is an effort to contribute to the larger rethinking. The following paper introduces the collection.
... While FPE has centrally been concerned with gendered activism and collective political actions that are organised and led by local users of resources, this research, in contrast, seeks to attend to negotiation around resource access at the household and community level and situate this within the gender debates in REDD+ at the national level. An analysis of gendered politics of resource access across different levels is facilitated through the concept of 'everyday politics' (Kerkvliet 2005), which aims to illustrate how local agency and actions can feed into wider debates of gender and resource access and in some cases, transform existing systems of resource governance. Overall, it aims to deepen the theoretical approach to gendered access to resources and upland transformation in Southeast Asia and Vietnam. ...
... The second section discusses how these actors mobilise resources and develop strategies to materialise their claims. While the first section is about insiders' perspectives of who should be entitled to land and forest in the village, in the second section, I present a more structural analysis of how 'everyday politics' (Kerkvliet 2005) of resource access reflect the dynamics of power relations among actors. Finally, the last section brings the discussion back to REDD+ and highlights the potential impacts of on-going REDD+ pilot projects on local communities. ...
... The 'everyday politics' (Kerkvliet 2005) around resource access, as discussed in Chapter 2, might manifest in various forms, including cooperation, negotiation and resistance (and this resistance is not necessarily confrontational or violent by nature). The different actors involved may not agree on whether a particular action is cooperative, negotiating or resisting as their perspectives on it are likely to be tied to their social identities and social relations. ...
Thesis
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Gender, environment and development, theory of access, feminist political ecology
... Private land ownership in the DRV was short-lived. Following socialist China and Eastern Europe, the government nationalized land and placed it under collective farming [5,33,35,36]. This process, undertaken during the late 1950s and early 1960s, constituted Vietnam's second major land reform. ...
... No private property was permitted, and under the collective farming system, farmers worked collectively on the land and gained a share of the harvest. However, collectivization faced severe problems due to mismanagement, widespread corruption, and a lack of resources for investment [5,38,39]. Under this system, a member's share of agricultural outputs was in proportion to the amount of land, livestock and farm machinery they initially contributed [37]. ...
... The success produced by Contract 100 was not sustained, however, because of the top-down nature of cooperative governance. Farmers typically had little choice over land use and crops [5,37]. Furthermore, the cooperatives maintained tight control over inputs, were sluggish to pay farmers for their produce, and there was a lack of land tenure security that discouraged farmers from investing in land improvements [5,37]. ...
Article
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Between Vietnam's independence and its reunification in 1975, the country's socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of "land to the tiller". During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government's "egalitarian" approach to land access was central to the mass support that it needed during the Indochinese war. Even when the 1993 Land Law transitioned agricultural land from collectivized to household holdings with 20-year land use certificates, the "land to the tiller" principle remained largely sacrosanct in state policy. Planned amendments to the current Land Law (issued in 2013), however, propose a fundamental shift from "land to the tiller" to the concentration of land by larger farming concerns, including private sector investors. This is explained as being necessary for the modernization of agricultural production. The government's policy narrative concerning this change emphasizes the need to overcome the low productivity that arises from land fragmentation, the prevalence of unskilled labor and resource shortages among smallholders. This is contrasted with the readily available resources and capacity of the private sector, together with opportunities for improved market access and high-tech production systems, if holdings were consolidated by companies. This major proposed transition in land governance has catalyzed heated debate over the potential risks and benefits. Many perceive it as a shift from a "pro-poor" to "pro-rich" policy, or from "land to the tiller" to the establishment of a "new landlord"-with all the historical connotations that this badge invokes. Indeed, the growing level of public concern over land concentration raises potential implications for state legitimacy. This paper examines key narratives on the government-supported land concentration policy, to understand how the risks, benefits and legitimacy of the policy change are understood by different stakeholders. The paper considers how the transition could change land access and governance in Vietnam, based on early experience with the approach.
... Private land ownership in the DRV was short-lived. Following socialist China and Eastern Europe, the government nationalized land and placed it under collective farming [5,33,35,36]. This process, undertaken during the late 1950s and early 1960s, constituted Vietnam's second major land reform. ...
... No private property was permitted, and under the collective farming system, farmers worked collectively on the land and gained a share of the harvest. However, collectivization faced severe problems due to mismanagement, widespread corruption, and a lack of resources for investment [5,38,39]. Under this system, a member's share of agricultural outputs was in proportion to the amount of land, livestock and farm machinery they initially contributed [37]. ...
... The success produced by Contract 100 was not sustained, however, because of the top-down nature of cooperative governance. Farmers typically had little choice over land use and crops [5,37]. Furthermore, the cooperatives maintained tight control over inputs, were sluggish to pay farmers for their produce, and there was a lack of land tenure security that discouraged farmers from investing in land improvements [5,37]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Between Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to land access was central to the mass support that it needed during the Indochinese war. Even when the 1993 Land Law transitioned agricultural land from collectivized to household holdings with 20-year land use certificates, the “land to the tiller” principle remained largely sacrosanct in state policy. Planned amendments to the current Land Law (issued in 2013), however, propose a fundamental shift from “land to the tiller” to the concentration of land by larger farming concerns, including private sector investors. This is explained as being necessary for the modernization of agricultural production. The government’s policy narrative concerning this change emphasizes the need to overcome the low productivity that arises from land fragmentation, the prevalence of unskilled labor and resource shortages among smallholders. This is contrasted with the readily available resources and capacity of the private sector, together with opportunities for improved market access and high-tech production systems, if holdings were consolidated by companies. This major proposed transition in land governance has catalyzed heated debate over the potential risks and benefits. Many perceive it as a shift from a “pro-poor” to “pro-rich” policy, or from “land to the tiller” to the establishment of a “new landlord”—with all the historical connotations that this badge invokes. Indeed, the growing level of public concern over land concentration raises potential implications for state legitimacy. This paper examines key narratives on the government-supported land concentration policy, to understand how the risks, benefits and legitimacy of the policy change are understood by different stakeholders. The paper considers how the transition could change land access and governance in Vietnam, based on early experience with the approach.
... Nevertheless, increasing incidents of contentious politics have emerged during the last two decades, such as disputes on building heights (Logan, 2000 ;Schenk, 2005), land disputes (Wells-Dang, 2010 ;Gillespie, 2011 ), opposition to public park redevelopment (Wells-Dang, 2010), claims for public space (Thomas, 2001;Kürten, 2008), youth protests (Phuong An Nguyen, 2006), the rising Internet-driven anti-China protests, and environmental activism (Geertman & Boudreau, 2018 ), all of which indicate the changing dynamics of citizens' participation in politics in Vietnam. An increased number of human rights activists (Bui Hai Thiem, 2014), and advocacy activities demanding democracy (Kerkvliet, 2015) have been observed. A characteristic of these contentious politics in Vietnam is the confl ict avoidance in the confrontations with power. ...
... Wells-Dang ( 2010 ) noted this for both the police and protesters. Conflict avoidance has also been noted in arguments supporting the adjustment of governance practices and legislation by the state, through which the state contributes to the prevention of future conflicts and thus preserves its power (Wells-Dang, 2010 ;Kerkvliet, 2003Kerkvliet, , 2005. Further, in contrast to common liberal democracy that understands civil society as independent of the state (Tilly & Tarrow, 2006), state and society in Vietnam are not entirely separate. ...
... It became an Ordinance in 2007 and provided new mechanisms to enable citizens to exercise their rights to be informed of government activities that aff ect them, to discuss and contribute to the formulation of certain policies, to participate in local development activities, and to supervise certain government actions (UNDP, 2006;Hai Hong Nguyen, 2016). The Decree and Ordinance were a response to continued episodes of rural resistance in Thai Binh in 1998 and other locations in Vietnam in the 1990s (Wells-Dang, 2010;Kerkvliet, 2005 ;UNDP, 2006). Kerkvliet (2005) observed that this change in legislation was not due to massive collective actions and organized movements, rather, political changes were a response to non-ideological activities of individuals, and small informal groups. ...
Chapter
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In Viet Nam, the single- party state remains in control of all land through ownership and maintains the right to withdraw land- use rights from citizens. Citizens have few rights over how land is used, according to the laws as they are written. However, the presence of the large informal land and housing sector in Hanoi brings to light the fact that, in spite of a constrained political environment, citizens find space for independent action. The key to understanding how this functions is by looking at the everyday practices used by ordinary citizens. This chapter gives an account of how citizens have largely relied on non-confrontational tactics to secure land and housing, in ways that are able to change state directions and policies. The choice of non-confrontational tactics in an authoritarian country is not surprising. What sheds light on how a civil society can emerge within the Vietnamese political system is the response by the Vietnamese state to accommodate the everyday practices of ordinary citizens. While these practices do not oppose the state directly, they are perceived as apolitical by both the state and the citizens. Furthermore, this chapter argues that there is much to be learned about the everyday spatial politics in Hanoi, as these modes of political engagement are becoming increasingly important in today’s urban world.
... Literature on moral economy examined peasants' relations with other classes and institutions and how these shape peasant politics and patron-client relations (Sco 1976). Scholars of moral economy subsequently focused less on dramatic but infrequent revolutions and rebellions and more on "everyday forms of peasant resistance," which include not just the o -cited "foot dragging, dissimulation, false compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, [and] sabotage " (Sco 1985: 29), but more broadly peasants' relations with external actors, whether adversaries or allies (Sco 1990;Kerkvliet 2005Kerkvliet , 2009). e notion of "rightful resistance," developed by O'Brien 2013), provides a nuanced framework for understanding rural villagers' relationship with outsiders in less-thandemocratic political se ings, such as contemporary China. ...
... While conservative foundations there provided massive long-term backing to powerful right-wing "think tanks," progressive funders emphasized more modest project-based support to their partners, none of which a ained similar in uence or a comparable degree of economic security (Covington 2005 Dictatorship and Democracy (1966), and more recent books by Merilee Grindle (1986) and Jonathan Fox (1993), both on Mexico. Even studies of "everyday" peasant politics are very much about state-peasant relations, as the works of James Sco (1976), Benedict Kerkvliet (2005 and Kevin O'Brien and LianjiangLi (2006) indicate. e state-peasant relationship is also central in analyses of contemporary agrarian con icts, from the 1995 Chiapas uprising (Harvey 1998) (Yeh, O'Brien and Ye 2013) and contention between the Landless Workers Movement ( ) and the government in Brazil . ...
Book
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2021 Open Access ebook edition of this Edelman and Borras book on Transnational Agrarian Movements.
... I propose to focus on the daily lives of marginalised individuals or groups, in this case market women, who do not have access to channels and means to voice their interests so as to reveal their modes of political agency. This paper highlights the phenomenon of everyday politics (Kerkvliet 2002(Kerkvliet , 2005Kallio/Häkli 2013) in Kankan, Guinea's second largest city. Kankan, founded in the 18 th century and the stronghold of current President Alpha Condé, is situated in the Upper Guinean Region, some 650 km northeast of the capital Conakry. ...
... 6 For an overview on how anthropologists have framed the political since the 1940s see Spencer (1998: 4-6;. 7 The here proposed continuum further develops Kerkvliet's (2005) tripartition of politics into official, advocacy, and everyday politics. It is also influenced by Bayat's concepts of "street politics" (1997) and "life as politics" (2010). ...
Article
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The Guinean state has not only been shaped and reshaped by the political elite, but also by people's daily actions. Women selling at Dibida market in Kankan, the stronghold of Guinea's current President Alpha Condé, are doing politics although in interviews they often deny to do so. Thus, I propose to focus on these women's everyday agency so as to reveal their modes of political articulation and to illustrate how they influence governmental discourses and practices. Drawing on ethnographic research, I highlight the phenomenon of everyday politics by focussing on Kankan's market women's interactions with the local government represented by actors such as tax collectors, members of the market office, and other administrative employees. The aim is to gain insight into modes of political articulations that are hardly visible, hence difficult to grasp and analyse. I illustrate that market women, despite not forming a strong network, are able to put pressure on the local government by their sheer number and can thus sometimes pursue their goals.
... In agrarian societies, as wide expanses of rural Laos continue to be, agency has long been associated with peasant resistance to structural constraints, such as exploitative extraction of surpluses, arbitrary top-down policies, elite-or state-driven pressures on land and livelihoods, and resulting social differentiation (Scott 1985;Hart et al. 1989;Kerkvliet 2005;Caouette and Turner 2009;Hall et al. 2015). The exercise of agency in these forms is exemplified in the Southeast Asian context in Scott's work on "moral economy" and everyday resistance (1976; 1985). ...
... While moral economy is concerned with social unrest resulting from the undermining of subsistence arrangements and violating peasants' "notion of economic justice" (Scott 1976, 3), open rebellion is an exception to the norms of everyday resistance (Scott 1985)-mundane, day-to-day struggles against exploitation through non-adherence to rules. The power of everyday resistance as a form of collective agency in response to top-down structural constraints is perhaps nowhere better depicted than in the widespread non-compliance that reversed Vietnam's agricultural collectivization policies in the 1970s and 1980s (Kerkvliet 2005). Laos enacted a concurrent collectivization campaign in the late 1970s (see context, below), although coercion and the (albeit often grudging) participation of the population meant that its reversal was less a result of direct resistance than the urgencies of low productivity and food shortages (Evans 1995;High 2014). ...
Article
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Themes of inclusion, empowerment, and participation are recurrent in development discourse and interventions, implying enablement of agency on the part of communities and individuals to inform and influence how policies that affect them are enacted. This article aims to contribute to debates on participation in rural development and environmental conservation, by applying a structure-agency lens to examine experiences of marginal farm households in three distinct systems of resource allocation in Lao PDR’s northern uplands—in other words, three institutional or (in)formal structures. These comprise livelihood development and poverty reduction projects, maize contract farming, and a national protected area. Drawing on qualitative data from focus group discussions and household surveys, the article explores the degree to which farmers may shape their engagement with the different systems, and ways in which agency may be enabled or disabled by this engagement. Our findings show that although some development interventions provide consultative channels for expressing needs, these are often within limited options set from afar. The market-based maize system, while in some ways agency-enabling, also entailed narrow choices and heavy dependence on external actors. The direct regulation of the protected area system meanwhile risked separating policy decisions from existing local knowledge. Our analytical approach moves beyond notions of agency commonly focused on decision-making and/or resistance, and instead revisits the structure-agency dichotomy to build a nuanced understanding of people’s lived experiences of interventions. This allows for fresh perspectives on the everyday enablement or disablement of agency, aiming to support policy that is better grounded in local realities.
... Hierarchy here refers to a structure in which people are stratified according to the power and authority for decision-making in their organisations and institutions. In Vietnam, it is commonly said that making disagreement with superior people in public is unacceptable (Kerkvliet, 2005). Such a cultural feature is very likely to cause returnees problems because they tend to come back from the host country with concepts of equal relationships and egalitarian and frank orientations (Pringle & Mallon, 2003;Tung & Lazarova, 2006). ...
Chapter
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The number of international returnees is increasing in emerging economies. However, very little has been known about their career development in their home country. This process is not linear because differences in cultural norms and professional values and expectations in the host and home countries often give returnees challenges. This study explored how Vietnamese returnees from Australia developed their career after returning to Vietnam. The findings revealed that there was not a simple answer to whether Australian education outcomes were useful and applicable in Vietnam or not because the usefulness and application were determined by the extent to which the returnees could be able to use their overseas skills and knowledge. Career development of returnees was influenced by both contextual and personal factors among which hierarchy, inside-oriented economy and networking appeared as strong external influences, whereas accessing full authority and being adaptive emerged as strong affordances.
... For example, between 1993 and 2010 the average annual growth rate was 7.4%, and poverty, based on the national poverty line, fell from 58% to 14.5%. Many commentators suggest 'reform' was a largely bottom-up process, with policy reactive and the 'facts' that described the transition process created by this (Fforde and Vylder, 1996;Kerkvliet, 2005). The 1999 Enterprise Law is said to be the result of 'fence breaking', or reform from below (Dapice, 2008). ...
Technical Report
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This study provides an analysis of decision-making processes and the role of knowledge in relation to economic policy in Vietnam. We define economic policy-making to include a wide variety of measures to improve economic productivity. Drawing on a documentary analysis and in person interviews, the findings included the following five key messages:  Power across the Vietnamese state is scattered; but formal knowledge is still relatively centralised  Despite pressure to sustain rapid economic growth, liberal inspired research findings tend to face obstacles in the form of economic interests, ideology and informality  The way in which civil servants are recruited, trained, managed, promoted and remunerated continues to be highly politicised, constraining the quality of policy-making  Genuine local-level authority to formulate policy varies depends on a range of informal factors, with some localities drawing on a wider pool of knowledge to adopt more locally specific policy  Development partners could improve their policy work by keeping a close eye on the context, working with government to highlight problems and enabling different stakeholder groups to discuss possible solutions
... Here the "whole edifice" is "understood in terms of the emerging capitalist economy over which the state was presiding and in which … its interests were increasingly bound up" (Gainsborough 2010, 183). In a recent publication, Gainsborough (2017, 183) does not revise his view of the Vietnamese state as acting "in the general interest of capital" and dismisses other approaches vis-a-vis the state to be found in Vietnam-related research: the dominatingstate approach, developed by Porter (1993), Womack (1987), and Thayer (1992); the mobilising-corporatism approach, created by Jeong (1997), Stromseth (1998), and Turley (1993); and, the dialogical approach, developed by Kerkvliet (2005). ...
Article
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When, how, and why do states take what kind of action vis-à-vis protests? This article tackles these under-researched questions with respect to Vietnam and Indonesia. The theoretical frame applied focusses on the state–society nexus and in-built biases of the capitalist state and its actions. It draws on Poulantzas’ idea of the state as a material condensation of the relationship of social forces as well as on Jessop’s “strategic-relational approach” and his concept of the “state in a capitalist society.” The method used is Protest Event Analysis, using data for 2016 and 2017 from four Indonesian and Vietnamese newspapers. This is complemented by data drawn from various newspapers on protests and state reactions for the period 2018–2020. The focussed theory frame used helps to explain similarities and differences of state reactions in Indonesia and Vietnam. Both states may govern protest in slightly different ways. Ultimately, however, both those states’ reactions indicate strong similarities in that they serve to maintain existing patterns of political, economic, and socio-cultural domination and the accumulation of capital as the very basis of the capitalist economy. To put these tentative findings to the test, longer-term data and cross-regional comparisons on state reactions to protests should be used.
... In fact, this trend of self-mobilization is precisely what pressured the government to embark on the đổi mới marketization policies in the 1980s (Dang 2004;Furuta 2009;Kerkvliet 2005). 6. ...
Article
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Hanoi’s ‘collective housing quarters’ (KTTs) are a living legacy of its socialist past. Since the 2000s the state has set out radical redevelopment plans to transform KTTs into new buildings, but these have largely failed. What are the possible explanations for this failure? KTTs have gradually transformed in their material forms through self-built modifications initiated by residents. Such material property of KTTs bears on the pathway of redevelopment, but official discourses are silent about this. In this article I show how KTTs as things have the capacity to transform anthropological thinking. The material property of KTTs as a citywide phenomenon affords a particular scale of analysis, with which we can imagine humans as participants in the material world instead of viewing materialities as participants in society.
... Fourth, the share of independent farmers and agricultural workers (34% of the middle-income group) is remarkably large compared to other lower middle-income economies. This Vietnamese specificity may be explained by the fact that de-collectivisation began earlier in rural than urban areas and was generally initiated locally by villagers before cooperatives were closed in 1988 (Kerkvliet, 2007), creating the basis for a small independent farmer rural economy model that has not been reversed to date (Kleinen, 2015). ...
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By combining household survey data on the economic and social characteristics of middle‐income earners and primary survey data on their subjective perceptions, we show that the so‐called Vietnamese ‘middle class’ is strongly heterogeneous in terms of income, occupation and status and includes a large percentage of highly vulnerable households facing high individual risk not covered by social protection. Although marginally driven by public sector employment and formal private sector expansion, it shares common traits that might help consolidate class identification and could lead to more formally organised political influence if the political sphere becomes more open in the future.
... The whole system of collectivized farming with fixed prices and no reward for individual hard work removed incentives. Many peasants offered passive resistance to agricultural collectivization(Kerkvliet 2005, Trung Dang 2018. As a result, productivity decreased and at the end of the 1970s Vietnam was experi-encing a famine.As another reaction to the crackdown on private business and the collectivization of agriculture many southerners decided to leave the country.Not only because of the nationalization of private commerce, but also due to the deterioration of Sino-Vietnamese relations after the end of the war in 1975 ethnic Chinese constituted a large group among the refugees. ...
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This paper discusses the failed policy of reconciliation carried out by the leadership in Hanoi after the collapse of the Republic of Vietnam (commonly known as „South Vietnam“) on April 30, 1975. It argues that in spite of all promises to the contrary after the end of the war the victorious North systematically dicriminated Southern Vietnamese who had worked for the former Saigonese government or the United States in Vietnam. Furthermore, I will analyse in which way the leadership in Hanoi tried to write the Republic of Vietnam out of history by destroying „sites of memory“ (lieux de mémoire). In the following I discuss how this policy together with the building of socialism in the southern part of the country led to serious social conflicts and finally to a massive exodus of approximately one million Vietnamese. In the second part of the paper, I will show that since the beginning of the reform policy in Vietnam (đổi mới) in the 1980s the failed integration of many defeated South Vietnamese after the end of the war has increasingly been adressed in “memory debates” among Vietnamese abroad and at home. The fate of the former South Vietnamese war cemetery in Biên Hòa will serve as an example.
... The resilience and creativity of Vietnamese peasants have been well studied. SeePopkin (1979),Kerkvliet (2005).Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved. ...
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This essay asks why Chinese and North Vietnamese agricultural scientists in the 1950s and 1960s willingly adopted the Soviet agricultural sciences represented not only by agronomists Ivan Michurin and Trofim Lysenko but soil scientist Vasili Williams. The answer, I argue, is that they were fascinated by the promise of Soviet agrobiology that I conceptualize as a combination of dialectical materialism and voluntarist productivism: if one masters the interconnectivity between plants, microbes, organic and inorganic materials, and soil, one can overcome the given biological and environmental limits, manipulate and optimize the material flow, and ceaselessly maximize agricultural production. Engaging the historiographical debate about Lysenkoism—which has mostly paid attention to the Euro-American cases (the Soviet, Eastern European and even “capitalist” Western), genetic controversies, and geopolitical specificities of each locale—as a global phenomenon, I shed fresh light on the understudied Chinese and North Vietnamese cases, the intersection between Lysenko’s theories and Williamsian soil science, and epistemic commonality across national differences.
... Everyday people are involved in the social institution of war in straightforward as well as complicated and often unnoted ways -as combatants, yes, but also as mourners, protesters, enthusiasts, computer specialists, medical personnel, weapons designers, artists, novelists, journalists, refugees, parents, clergy, child soldiers, and school children. (2013b, p. 4, emphasis in original) 4 The everyday has also been theorised as a site of resistance and dissent (see, for example, Crawshaw and Jackson 2011, Kerkvliet 2005, Lilja and Vinthagen 2018, Migdal 2013, and Popovic and Miller 2015; has been an area of focus in peace and conflict studies, particularly with regard to the The everyday, then, is a site of study, but it also goes beyond that; as Xavier Guillaume and Jef Huysmans explain, the everyday 'is more than a particular kind of site, such as private life, or a particular quality of objects and persons, such as time sheets, everyday political idioms, or military wives, situated at an infra-political level', in that it 'mobilises distinct philosophical, sociological and literary lineages that organize our understanding of lives and worlds' (Guillaume and Huysmans 2019, p. 279, emphasis added). It has a sort of normative aspect that rails against a certain way of looking at the world, and at world politics; a way that fails to see people properly. ...
... The aim of EPE is to rectify what has up until now been 'methodological elitism' within the field, to undertake a research programme to advance understanding about what perceptions voters do hold (Stanley and Jackson, 2016). Kerkvliet's (2005) distinction is the basis for this approach. He argues that as well as official and advocacy levels of politics there is an 'everyday' level. ...
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Some political economists explain the apparent downplaying of the importance of economic issues in political events such as Brexit with reference to the growing anger or despair people on low incomes feel about the economy. This ‘everyday political economy’ article draws on an ethnographic study conducted between 2016 and 2018 with residents of an English city to explore what people think about the phenomenon of the economy. It reveals significant differences in how interested high- and low-income participants are in the economy and its role as a bedrock for welfare. Low-income participants are more negative about the economy, particularly contesting politicians’ claims that it is distinct from the human sphere, when they view it as controlled by the rich. However, reasoning is based on post-2008 crisis economic conditions, and any lack of interest in the economy may be more calculative and temporary than is often assumed.
... Chinese people of all walks frequently use the term to describe the actions of social actors involved in policy implementation, or more generally, any kinds of negotiations with state rules and laws. Edge ball politics is neither that which is practiced by those in weaker power position as a sort of "weapons of the weak" (Kerkvliet 2005;Scott 1985) nor "rightful resistance" (O'Brien and Li 2006). It is a fi eld of tacitly understood behavior codes partaken in by a variety of social actors of varying power positions, each seeking to maneuver around the implementation of state policies to gain an advantage or to redress the perceived injustice of the policies for oneself. ...
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This article analyzes a particular form of everyday politics through the case of land development in a Chinese village. Commonly referred to as edge ball politics ( cabianqiu ), it implies the act of transgressing certain rules or laws and testing the limits of what is socially and legally possible. We found that the state, the village leadership, private developers, and villagers all vie to influence the outcomes of land development in the village by engaging in this practice. We suggest that edge ball politics plays into the Chinese state’s governing strategies, which allow for a manageable space of negotiation to ward off a collective sense of injustice in the face of rampant dispossession of the weak and accumulation by the powerful.
... Les intellectuels sont les « "commis" du groupe dominant pour l'exercice des fonctions subalternes de l'hégémonie sociale et du gouvernement politique » -celles d'organisation, de connexion et d'orientation des grandes masses autour d'un « accord qui naît "historiquement" du prestige qu'a le groupe dominant » (Ibid.). Dans cette perspective, la société civile n'est pas vue comme une force venant d'en bas telle qu'elle est présentée dans les théories grassroots democracy et everyday politics (Kerkvliet, 2005), lesquelles maintiennent une ligne de démarcation entre l'État et la société. La société civile, quel que soit le contexte, ne peut fonctionner effectivement que lorsque cette frontière devient poreuse et interchangeable, à condition qu'elle partage a minima un consensus avec le groupe dirigeant. ...
... It was becoming clear, even to the most ideologically predisposed cadres, that agricultural cooperatives were failing as units of production. Indeed, Kerkvliet (2005Kerkvliet ( , 2009 argues that a process of spontaneous individualization was occurring in agricultural cooperatives across the north as production failure and deepening impoverishment were driving members to search for new ways to raise production, often against the logics of the collective farming system. ...
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This paper explores the links between migration and changes in household agricultural production in Vietnam during the reform period (1986–2012) through a case study of Quỳnh Đôi village, Nghệ An Province. Since reforms were first introduced, many villagers have left Quỳnh Đôi to work in cities, industrial zones or to find employment abroad. The migration process has transformed labour structures and supply, leading to changes in household agricultural production across two dimensions. First, renting or exchanging agricultural land has become common between households in Quỳnh Đôi, and between Quỳnh Đôi villagers and a neighbouring commune. This renting/exchanging of agricultural land has helped redistribute land among households that would otherwise be rich in land and poor in labour, or vice versa. These transactions have not been purely market-based but carried out mainly through verbal agreements dependent on networks of social capital and trust. Second, because many farm labourers have migrated, households require additional human labour for agricultural production. Facing this situation, various forms of labour exchange have emerged. Migration has, therefore, become an important generator of change in farming.
... Dans les deux pays, il est notable aussi que le visuel supplante peu à peu le corps et la pratique dans la production de l'espace avec, notamment, la multiplication des murs délimitant les propriétés et celle des panneaux indiquant leur propriétaire ou leur état (« à vendre » ou « à louer »). (Kerkvliet, 2005). Cet équilibre est aujourd'hui fragilisé par les conflits et par des contre-pouvoirs externes, mais le rôle de l'État reste important et la force publique reste très visible alors qu'elle disparaît devant le marché au Cambodge. ...
... On the other hand, if abilities vary between students 1 and 2, the gap between them will broaden, and even if the teacher provides them with opportunities to collaborate, the pair will be unable to help each other understand the content, especially those with a lower level of understanding (Saito et al., 2014a(Saito et al., , 2014b. Moreover, if both students are not keen on learning and exercise so-called "everyday politics", demonstrating their resistance against or disagreement in indirect ways (Kerkvliet, 2005) with the teacher, the emotional labour would be immense, especially if she or he chooses to introduce collaborative learning as a mandated item rather than as part of his or her own reform agenda (Hargreaves, 2004). ...
Article
Recently, group learning has been introduced in various countries as part of educational reform. While there are various approaches to group learning, the focus of this study is on collaborative learning, which is based on mutual help-seeking and consultation. This requires teachers' decision to integrate collaborative learning into their practices and all actors to participate therein. This demonstrates whether implementing and participating in colla-borative learning is a game theoretic situation. However, in the majority of studies on group learning, the game theoretic aspect has not been sufficiently investigated. Therefore, this paper aims to provide a conceptual discussion on this situation in collaborative learning using a comparative institutional analysis (CIA) framework.
... The existing scholarship on the 1986 doi moi has largely focused on the process of Vietnam's marketoriented economic reforms in the first half of the 1980s (Kerkvliet 2005;Vasavakul 2019), but few, with notable exceptions of Tuong Vu's (2016) Vietnam's Communist Revolution: The Power and Limits of Ideology, David Elliott's (2012) Changing Worlds: Vietnam's Transition from Cold War to Globalization, and Adam Fforde's (2009) Economics, History, and the Origins of Vietnam's Post-War Economic Success, shed light on the underlying ideas that gave birth to the 1986 doi moi. The major debate about the origins of Vietnam's doi moi policy is whether it is an endogenous process, as Adam Fforde argued, or is Vietnam learning from the Soviet Union about economic reforms, as Tuong Vu emphasised. ...
Article
Drawing on new archival evidence, this paper focuses on the origins of Vietnam's foreign economic policy of 1986, better known as doi moi (renovation). The existing scholarship contends that doi moi ideas emerged amid Vietnam's socio-economic crisis during the late 1970s through a bottom-up process of market-oriented activities by local authorities. I argue, however, that these scholars overlooked the early ideas of economically engaging the West to obtain advanced technology to raise the Vietnamese products’ quality, and therefore, their competitiveness in the socialist bloc. Following the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973, Vietnamese diplomats-turned reformists studied the role of western technology and capital investment in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The Politburo entrusted Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Co Thach, a senior advisor to Hanoi's chief negotiator Le Duc Tho in Paris, to conduct a series of clandestine studies on the role of western technology in economic relations between East and West. Thach's learning about the West's technological revolution led them to the shocking conclusion that the Soviet bloc was at least a decade behind the West in technological development. The fear of Vietnam being trapped in economic backwardness propelled these reformers to advocate bold ideas of economically engaging the West in the post-Vietnam War era to extract advanced technology to support post-war economic development and modernisation. However, it took an economic crisis (1977–78), followed by another costly two-front war against Cambodia and China between 1979 and 1985, for reformist Nguyen Co Thach's ideas to prevail over the conservative faction's military-first policy.
... Such acts are subtle and covert in nature, and avoid the risk of persecution for blatant insubordination (Kerkvliet, 2009). Although seemingly less effective than direct acts of rebellion, however, the consequences of such acts can be far reaching (Kerkvliet, 2005). As Scott (1985) describes, the amalgamation of a multitude of individual acts of resistance can serve to dismantle the structural relationship between the forces of domination and those who are subjugated. ...
... People's livelihoods have depended on rice from very early on in the Delta's settlement, initially taking advantage of natural conditions and eventually modifying the landscape through large-scale hydraulic infrastructure to enable rice cultivation in areas where it was not feasible before (Biggs, 2010;Brocheux, 1995;Can, Duong, Sanh, & Miller, 2007;Le, Bregt, van Halsema, Hellegers, & Nguyen, 2018;Taylor, 2014). In the first half of the 20th century, rice monoculture policy that relied on an unstable system of credit and debt caused peasant resentment and social unrest (Biggs, 2010;Brocheux, 1995;Kerkvliet, 2005). Infrastructural developments attempting to control environment and hydrological systems that have been applied as the dominant approach in water resources management in the VMD have also created new environmental problems and social conflicts and led to path dependencies challenging the capacity of local social-ecological system and livelihoods to adapt to changing environmental circumstances today (Biggs, Miller, & Hoanh, 2009;Brown, Tuan, Nhan, Dung, & Ward, 2018;Can et al., 2007;Hoanh et al., 2003;Käkönen, 2008;Le et al., 2018;Smajgl et al., 2015;D. ...
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The Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) is one of the most examined deltas in the world given its dynamics, complexity, and vulnerability. In the past decades, the VMD has changed rapidly, especially the land use in relation with the socioeconomic development. National policy has profoundly influenced these changes and the changes have significantly affected local livelihoods. However, these changes are not well reported systematically. In this study, we investigate land‐use changes based on institutional analyses across multiple scales, that is, from national, provincial, to local livelihood based on institutional and sustainability analysis. The results show a strong relationship between legal settings over the last 30 years on land use and livelihood transitions. In addition, the constraints of implementing national legal frameworks at provincial level in practice were identified including effects to local livelihoods. We offer some recommendations for sustainable livelihoods in the VMD, with a focus on increasing socioecological resilience.
... In 1986, Vietnam liberalized its economy to reflect a more open orientation, in what has come to be known as the Đổi Mới (renovation) era. One key aspect of these reforms was revision to the national land law beginning in 1988, which allowed households to take primary responsibility for agricultural and forest production and which set into motion a large-scale process of decollectivization (Kerkvliet, 2005). Forest decentralization was driven less by neoliberal concerns of privatization and profit, and more by alarm that deforestation rates were excessively high and the productivity of SFEs was declining, as many were financially insolvent. ...
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Vietnam has had a national Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) policy in place since 2010, which transfers money for forest protection from water and energy users to households who live in upland watersheds. However, despite a loose resemblance to general Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) principles, implementation in Vietnam differs strongly from a theoretical ideal, and has a number of unique features, including: strong state involvement in transactions; no use of markets to set payments; poor definition and monitoring of ecosystem services; and the adoption of non‐conditional incentives that strongly resemble livelihood subsidies for poor rural areas. The form that PES takes in Vietnam has been shaped by institutional histories of forest management that have envisioned a strong role for the state and for financial transfers to the rural uplands. At the same time, PES has also been influenced by active engagement and agency of central and local government actors, and local payment recipients, and key areas in which they have impacted PES design include shared governance and more equitable benefit distribution models. These institutional priorities and local values that have shaped PES policy and implementation in Vietnam have led to a hybrid model, full of contradictions and compromises, that neither fits a classical definition nor resembles neoliberal conservation outcomes, and whose success is difficult to judge.
... However, a common constraint that all participants struggled to overcome was the rigid working culture. In Vietnam, it is commonly said that being in disagreement with superior people in public is unacceptable (Kerkvliet 2005). There was little space for diversity and the voices of employees to be heard . ...
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The number of international returnees is increasing in emerging economies. However, very little has been known about their career development in their home country. This study explored how Vietnamese returnees from Australia developed their career after returning to Vietnam. The study deployed a qualitative approach using in-depth interviews with 15 returnees of Australian universities. The findings revealed the returnees faced a range of barriers hindering their career progression amongst which ‘the rigid working culture’ was the most significant and ‘stereotyped perceptions about Australian qualifications’ was an emerging issue due to recent changes in economy and society in Vietnam. The findings revealed three main strategies that the returnees utilised to negotiate their employability including being ‘navigator’, being ‘rebels, and being ‘retreatist’. The findings also revealed that there was not a simple answer to whether Australian education outcomes were useful and applicable in Vietnam or not because the usefulness and application were determined by the extent to which the returnees could be able to use their overseas skills and knowledge. The study provided insights about constraints and opportunities in the home market and enrich the current literature about the returnee phenomenon. These insights would support international students to better support their plans for career development upon their return.
... James C. Scott's Weapons of the weak (1985) has had particular influence not just on studies of resistance, but on studies of everyday politics more generally. For IPE scholars such as Hobson and Seabrooke, for instance, the work of Scott (as well as the work of Kerkvliet 2005Kerkvliet , 2009) provides a way into thinking about how the everyday operates as a site within which global political economic change takes shape due to the conscious, and more often unconscious, actions in which 'everyday actors' engage (see also Broome, 2013;Redden, 2016). This more agent-centric approach is not, however, the only lens though which the everyday has been understood within IPE (Elias, Hobson, Rethel, & Seabrooke, 2016). ...
... Another response to such policies is described as "anti-colonisation", in which the colonised choose to subvert policies. Anti-colonisation responses may take two forms: active resistance typically manifests in the form of political activism, while passive resistance to policies tends to take the form of passive disengagement (Kerkvliet, 2005). Those who use the third response, "de-colonisation", subvert Panoptic monitoring systems in schools the aims of "top-down" bureaucratic structures in education by innovating their own policies in order to maximise learning and people's well-being by appearing to have a sense of autonomy (Stickney, 2012). ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate a dystopian situation with special reference to how a panoptic monitoring system emerges in schools. To satisfy this aim, there will be a close analysis of the city of Nago in Okinawa Prefecture, where there is a huge debate over the new US Marine base construction and how it greatly influences people’s lives. Design/methodology/approach This study will employ a self-study by the first author, who is a clinical psychologist under the board of education in the city. This self-study aims to examine the lived experiences of the author based on interactions with critical friends. Findings The government’s selection of the site for the new base created a schism in the community, and the introduction of compensations led to the establishment of a communal panoptic monitoring system. This communal panoptic monitoring largely influences the relationships between pupils, teachers and parents. Further, another panoptic monitoring system has developed inside the Nago schools due to the intensification of the assessment policies given by the ministry in Tokyo. Originality/value This investigation purports to analyse a dystopian situation with special reference to how a panoptic monitoring system, a key element of a dystopia, emerges in schools.
... Everyday politics can take different forms, including support for existing political regimes, compliance, and modifications and evasions of formal norms and rules, of which everyday forms of resistance are today the most studied examples (Kerkvliet 2005;Scott 1998). The understanding that these forms are not fixed but changeable is integral to the study of everyday politics. ...
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In this paper, drawing on empirical evidence from Russian society, the authors seek to analyze the ways in which ordinary people can overcome a perceived gap between “high” politics and their everyday experiences. We argue that the concept of everyday politics is not enough to prepare the ground for politicization in everyday life, at least in a highly dismantled society. In examining ethnographic case studies of people who consider themselves apolitical, the paper introduces the concept of “pragmatic politics,” which is defined as the activity of inscribing the broader world within palpable everyday experience. The case studies examined here speak to four different modes of everyday politics that reveal various modalities of pragmatic politics.
... (2012). See also Bayat (2010) on the cumulative effect of 'arts of presence ' and Kerkvliet (2005) and other contributors to the debate on 'everyday forms of resistance' generated by the work of James Scott (1986). 6. Pragmatically, expression in word or deed is also what gives the anthropologist or social historian access (Smith, 1999: 114-116). ...
Article
Against the suggestion that we are living in ‘post-political’ times, I argue that the capacity for critical politics is permanent and broadly distributed, as it emerges from the contradictions embedded in our everyday lives. Yet collective mobilisation to change prevailing power formations is not common. Ethnographers are well positioned to explain why this is so, by investigating critique at its incipient stage, when it may be mute or incoherent, and examining how it develops into a world-changing force or—more often—how the emergence of such a force is interrupted. Posing the trajectory towards historically effective politics as counter-factual (something we might expect to find), and attending to how such a trajectory is interrupted, offers a useful point of entry for ethnographic research. Drawing on the work of Antonio Gramsci and Stuart Hall, I propose a set of questions that could help guide a renewed anthropology of politics along these lines: (1) What is the formation of power that creates a sense of unease, or separation? (2) Through what practices is critique shared or enunciated? (3) What is the social group that connects to this critique? (4) In what ways does a group thus assembled act to change the configuration of power it has identified as problematic? Following the logic of the counterfactual: (5) What potential or embryonic critiques are not articulated, (6) do not form the basis for connection and mobilisation, or (7) do not make new worlds? Finally: (8) What are the formations, practices, and affective states that sustain and stabilise the status quo? In the second part of my essay I use these questions to probe practices of politics in three sites in rural Indonesia where I have carried out research.
... As stated earlier, government agencies act as the operator and manager of the flood control and irrigation scheme, while farmers act as beneficiaries and 'clients' in monitoring and evaluating the scheme performance on the ground. This represents the 'dialogic' interactions in the sense of communicating ideas and preference between the local government and social actors (i.e., farmers) (Kerkvliet, 2005). While flood management is exercised based on a top-down technocratic-based approach, local adaptation practices suggest the presence of bottom-up feedback loops in attempts to address flood management deficiencies. ...
... Forest land can be distributed to Forest Management Boards, Commune People's Committees, private companies, and households as well as to individuals for planting and protection. Although Vietnam has been through land policy reform regimes during the past five decades, land policy has not been implemented smoothly because of conflicts among stakeholders, for example, between the state and the peasantry (Kerkvliet, 2005;Borras, 2008). The most crucial laws have been amended to govern forest use and management. ...
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Full text available here: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/home/index.php?sfile=publication&ptype=2&page=2 This report concerns the controversy surrounding mangrove restoration policy in Vietnam, examining how decentralization works in a central state and how it plays out on the ground. It is also a look into the level of understanding of mangrove restoration policy among stakeholders, and how local and scientific knowledge contest and intertwine in mangrove restoration. The study found that local people are often left out of the decision-making process, and whether or not their participation in implementation is effective depends on the way the local government interprets policy and embeds it into the local setting. There is a diversity of understanding of what is "mangrove restoration policy" among actors concerned. The state's policy concerns ecology, while locals interpret mangrove restoration in a more complicated way with cultural, ecological, and economic meaning. Although scientific knowledge is still dominant in state policy, local knowledge of sustainable mangrove restoration and usage has been in the area for many generations. This local knowledge still plays an important role in mangrove restoration, which, due to policy uncertainty and market-driven economic forces, is under threat of disappearing.
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This paper examines the emergence of the corporeal turn in International Relations (IR) research on war. It argues that a lack of a sustained ontological investigation leaves open two theoretical gaps, which impedes the development of an embodied theory of war: (1) the core concept of a body and its linkages with war are underdeveloped, and (2) existing research on the embodiment of war slips into discursivism or empiricism. The paper invites the corporeal turn scholarship to bring ontology to the forefront of IR war research and to expand a pool of theoretical resources for analyzing the corporeality of war by turning to existential phenomenology. With the phenomenological concept of the lived body placed at the heart of war ontology, war is conceived as a complex social institution with the generative powers born out of the capacity of the violent politics of injury to disrupt the lived bodies' sense-making and agential capacities, on the one hand, and the potential of individuals and communities to reclaim their interpretive integrity and agency through embodied everyday practices, on the other.
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Much of the work of political science revolves around institutions—the structures through which politics happens. Leaders enter the frame, of course, but often as institutions in human form: presidents, premiers, populists, and mobilizers who serve to channel and direct who does what and what they do, much like an agency or law. We might trace this pseudo-structural, largely mechanical reading of human agency to political scientists of an earlier era: the behavioralists of the 1950s and 1960s. James C. Scott began his career as just such a scholar. For his dissertation-turned-book, Political Ideology in Malaysia: Reality and the Beliefs of an Elite , Scott surveyed a gaggle of Malaysian bureaucrats to examine, effectively, the extent to which their values and assumptions supported or subverted the new democracy they served. Although itself fairly prosaic, that work foreshadows the political grime and games that soon pulled Scott in more promising directions theoretically, whether scrutinizing Southeast Asia or global patterns: disentangling structure from norms, finding agency around the margins of class and state, and rethinking how power looks and functions.
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Building on ethnographic fieldwork in Vietnam’s northern upland region, this article uses the case of state programs of poverty reduction for the country’s ethnic minorities to add insights to scholarly understandings of the composition and workings of socialist states in today’s Asia. Scholars have widely rejected the idea of Asian socialist states as monolithic, totalising entities in favour of seeing those states as internally divided. However, they have mostly examined how Asian socialist states are divided vertically into the central government and local authorities, which either manipulate central policies for local interests or side with villagers to defy central superiors. The approach leaves the central government relatively intact as a unified, coherent whole. This article argues that the Vietnamese state is equally divided at the central level by documenting ethnographically the striking lack of coordination and synchronisation amongst central agencies responsible for implementing poverty reduction programs. This dysfunction is caused by what I term ‘centralised–decentralisation’, meaning that each of those central agencies has remarkable autonomy to decide how to implement the programs assigned to them, even in ways in conflict with other central state organisations.
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Tras tres decadas de transición, la economía cubana se define por dinámicas entre las economías impuestas por el Estado y las resistencias cotidianas generadas 'desde abajo'. Aunque estas últimas carecen de representación legal y estadística, se pueden estudiar a traves de las transcripciones ocultas (Scott, 1985) de sus participantes. El artículo aplica al caso cubano conceptos contemporáneos como economías multiples, infrapolítica y subalternidad.
Thesis
This research work exhibits land reform and peasant resistance in Bihar with particular reference to Muzaffarpur district. It attempts to highlight how the question of agrarian issues was raised during the colonial period, and what steps were taken by both the colonial and post-colonial government to eradicate poverty, bring social and economic prosperity, and increase farm fertility. The nature of land ceiling cases and land redistribution is addressed to bring out the essence of land reforms in Bihar. In the end, this research also talks about the different forms of peasant resistance.
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Vietnam's economic transformation has been widely celebrated. Since the onset of market reforms in the late 1980s, rural communities with endemic rural poverty in the Red River Delta have become middle-income settlements. While there are many reasons for this uptick in economic prosperity, keeping land holdings for rice growing is not one of them: rice cultivation is unprofitable, hard work, and exposes families to significant opportunity costs. In an era of enhanced land commoditization and plentiful off-farm employment, what accounts for the widespread insistence on maintaining household rice land? Through a mixed methods study of three communes in northern Vietnam, we argue that smallholders are simultaneously reflecting historically on their family's embedded relationship to rice cultivation, thinking beyond the farm to other opportunities in the present, and hedging future economic risks against the constancy of rice land and what it can yield. Rural households pivot between past, present, and future when considering the value and role of their rice land. We show through the cases of these three communes that rural economic growth and national structural change do not automatically result in a diminution of rice farming. Understanding this ‘fact’ requires an approach that is sensitive to the shadows of history, aware of the multiple and different pressures in the present, while also being alert to people's sense of what the future might hold. This resonates with smallholder farming across Asia, the direction and shape of the wider agrarian transition, and helps to explain why policies aimed at agricultural modernisation have often failed, at least in their own terms.
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Rapid industrialization has come at a high cost to the natural environment in Vietnam. Frustrated with regulatory inaction, Vietnamese citizens from many social backgrounds have taken direct action to protect their country’s natural environment. Most studies about environmental disputes in Vietnam have focused on large-scale conflicts, leaving smaller-scale rural disputes comparatively under researched. Drawing on in-depth interviews, this research projects explores how knowledge about environmental activism can transform the claims made in small-scale disputes. It examines why these disputes can sometimes succeed in mitigating environmental harm when complaints through administrative and judicial avenues fail.
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This article makes a case for Vietnam as a distinctive example of late- and post-socialist marketization, a painful experience that has brought widespread immiseration to rural societies within and beyond Asia. Building on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in a northern Vietnamese village, I explore a hitherto under-researched aspect of Vietnam's massive social and economic transformation in the 30 years since the onset of market transition or Renovation ( Đổi mới ): the surprising ways in which rural households have negotiated both the risks and opportunities of the state's push to de-cooperativize and marketize village livelihoods. The state expects that a minority of rich farmers will rapidly move into large-scale, mechanized farming, while the majority will abandon small-scale subsistence farming to specialize in trade or participate in industrial waged employment. Surprisingly, all village households insist on being đa gi năng , that is, on retaining multiple livelihood options instead of following the official modernization scripts. Their refusal to follow state plans is not market-averse ‘resistance’, but something rarely documented in the literature on peasant life in marketizing contexts: a local sense of agency and taking personal responsibility for the security and long-term welfare of their families, in the face of highly unpredictable state policies.
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This essay offers reflections on Vietnam’s post-socialist state planning system and an upcoming government initiative to reform it. Thirty years after the departure from Soviet-style central planning, state-directed planning prevails as the dominant feature of Vietnam’s governance system, policy regime, and economic system. Our purpose is to examine why state-directed planning has been so resilient despite its many associated drawbacks in the past and present. We present a range of critical thoughts on the underlying causes and drivers that have preserved state-directed planning and that may jeopardize the nascent reform process. K E Y W O R D S : State planning system, planning
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The global food crisis of 2007–2008 caused rice prices to skyrocket, raising fears among Vietnamese consumers and policymakers over long-term supplies of this key staple. In response, the Vietnamese government promulgated a new food security policy which promoted intensive rice agriculture and limited the cultivation of alternative crops. In this chapter, Gorman first explores how “food security” came to be defined by the Vietnamese state as the maximization of rice production, and then uses survey data to trace the impact of this output-oriented policy on rural communities. Drawing on critical theories of agrarian change, Gorman argues that this emphasis on rice monoculture has eroded the livelihoods of small farmers, driving many out of agriculture altogether and contributed to the concentration of land among large producers.
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This essay offers reflections on Vietnam’s post-socialist state planning system and an upcoming government initiative to reform it. Thirty years after the departure from Soviet-style central planning, state-directed planning prevails as the dominant feature of Vietnam’s governance system, policy regime, and economic system. Our purpose is to examine why state-directed planning has been so resilient despite its many associated drawbacks in the past and present. We present a range of critical thoughts on the underlying causes and drivers that have preserved state-directed planning and that may jeopardize the nascent reform process.
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This article examines the media coverage of the 2013 campaign for the amendment and revision of the 1992 Constitution in Vietnam. Its purpose is to test the hypothesis whereby the mediatization of marginal speeches in the dominant public sphere is indicative of the emergence of a Vietnamese civil society. It draws on Gramscian conception of hegemony, of organic intellectual and of civil society.
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